Our chair offers courses in various WHU programs (BSc, MSc, MBA, Dr. rer. pol.).

In this course, we particularly focus on descriptive ethics, not on normative ethics. In this vein, we do not elaborate on an ideal world of ethical behavior, but we discuss how the real world challenges managers to compromise on their ethical values. In consequence, we will deal with ethical questions that really concern managers, such as: 1) “How can I make ethically sound decisions?”, 2) “How can I prevent making ethical failures?”, 3) “How can I speak up for my values without ruining my career?”, 4) “What can I do if I have made ethical mistakes?”. To address these questions, students analyze different short cases and discuss these in class. Prof. Müthel supports the discussion with theoretical concepts and empirical findings. This course was changed from an initially normative ethics course into a descriptive ethics course to enable class discussions on ethical dilemmas. Students’ high ranking of the descriptive ethics course reflected their appreciation of the redesign.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, government authorities as well as the public request a culture change within the banking industry towards more compliant and ethical behavior. Banks, such as Deutsche Bank, have signaled readiness to take on responsibility and foster ethical behavior. While it is particularly ethical scandals, that foster the call for ethical behavior, managers generally, and across all industries, face the challenge to balance ethical and business performance.  In this course, we discuss unethical employee behavior, its roots, and means to foster ethical employee behavior. Thereby, we will analyze scientific literature on these topics and develop managerial takeaways for leadership. Based on class discussion, we will develop our own ethical leadership credo. Methodology wise, students will learn how to use graphic research models to structure their thesis and to develop a consistent table of content. In this vein, each student team will develop its own graphic research model, based on continuous feedback from the Chair.

This course is about the people side of business. People are an organization’s most valuable asset. In times of digitalization, companies ever more depend on their talents to drive change and to push innovation. However, at the same time, digitalization also comes along with new challenges for managing people. We therefore discuss which people skills will be particularly relevant to push talents’ careers in the digital world.




In this course, we address these questions and students learn how to define a theoretical contribution, identify different types of theoretical contributions, describe the process of theory development, distinguish different methods of theory development, combine different theories, evaluate the methodological fit between a theoretical contribution and the methods applied, and write and publish theory.

The number of scandals across all business sectors shows that effective failure treatment strategies are a prerequisite for globally acting firms. From a managerial perspective, successfully dealing with (past) failures becomes a strategic competence. Nevertheless, transforming failures into successes is very difficult to do.

In this course, we discuss the different tactics managers can apply to deal with past failure. The different tactics most often applied by managers can be distinguished with regard to the level of internal and external acceptance for failure and can range between tactless behavior and true change. As failure treatment tactics might also change over time, we will analyze how and why managers and/or firms decide to change their tactics over time and we will identify the underlying forces pressuring managers/ firms to take responsibility for their mistakes. Discussing how managers can move from one tactic to another, we will discuss how past failure can be transformed into future success.

Digitalization will challenge leadership effectiveness, forcing leaders to adapt their leadership behavior. Therefore, in this class, participants gain a basic understanding of the central characteristics of the digital workplace, explore how the digital workplace affects leadership effectiveness, learn how the digital workplace changes leadership priorities and discuss challenges for leaders to redefine their roles within the digital workplace.

While sophistication in strategy development is a prerequisite for successful change, it is worthless, if not implemented. In this class, we will discuss change as practice, i.e. how to “do” change. More specifically, participants learn to apply a step-by-step process how to implement change. For each step, they will be given specific tools supporting them in carefully navigating change projects, winning opponents to support change and inspiring people to follow them into an uncertain future.